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Arapahoe County to pay $30K to woman detained for immigration agency

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File photo showing ICE officers.

File photo showing ICE officers.

DENVER – Arapahoe County has agreed to pay $30,000 to a woman who was held for immigration officials when she called police to ask for help.

When Claudia Valdez was allegedly assaulted by her husband in July of 2012, she called police, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. Upon learning that she had entered the country illegally more than a decade before, officers arrested Valdez.

Valdez, who is from Mexico, has lived in Colorado for 15 years, has three children who are citizens, and no criminal record. However, she is in the country illegally and faces deportation proceedings as a result of her arrest.

Valdez’s husband later admitted that he had been the aggressor, and a judge ordered that Valdez be released from jail. However, the Arapahoe County Sherriff’s Office held her for three additional days in compliance with a detainer request from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to the ACLU.

ICE detainers are requests that a local law enforcement agency hold a person ICE suspects of violating immigration law. Agencies are not legally required to comply, and must release the suspect if ICE doesn’t formally arrest them within 48 hours.

The practice has been highly controversial, with ICE claiming that detainers are a key part of immigration enforcement, while groups like the ACLU argue that the requests are used too frequently and sometimes lead to people who have broken no laws being held in jail.

Upon learning of Claudia Valdez’s situation, the ACLU began working on her behalf. The group said it was prepared to sue over the matter.

“When ICE asks a sheriff to hold a prisoner, the agency is essentially asking the sheriff to make a new arrest,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for the ACLU of Colorado. “And Colorado law just does not provide authority to sheriffs to make that arrest.”

The group lauded Arapahoe County’s decision to compensate Valdez, and vowed to continue pressuring Colorado sheriffs who cooperate with ICE detainers.

Denver and some other Colorado counties have said they will no longer hold suspects based solely on ICE’s immigration requests.



    • Anonymous

      FYI, it is not a crime to be an undocumented immigrant. It is a civil violation. A person who is in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws is subject to civil penalties, i.e., deportation proceedings, not criminal penalties, i.e., fines or imprisonment.

      • evilfed

        From Title 8 USC 1325:

        Any alien who

        (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or

        (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or

        (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

        Which part of 6 months to 2 years imprisonment sounds like “not a crime” to you?

      • amy

        Exactly, why don’t you all go back back 240 yrs or so and deport and tell that to the Europeans that came to North America to take the land from the natives. Say what you say i will throw this statement and more. The fact that coming from any place without permission takes place way back then aswell.


    For crying out loud, this is ridiculous! Another example of catering to illegals! Please stop the madness!

  • SpamFace Plant

    ACLU, once again on the wrong side of the law. A thief enters and steals in the dark of night when no one is watching. Illegal undocumented entry into another country is no different. Having lived in Europe, they do immigration right (except for France).

  • mikerb55

    Only in the USA can you make $30k for being a criminal. Now we can send her kids to college for free.

  • Anne (@29goofs)

    “When ICE asks a sheriff to hold a prisoner, the agency is essentially asking the sheriff to make a new arrest,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for the ACLU of Colorado. “And Colorado law just does not provide authority to sheriffs to make that arrest.”…….Why does the Sheriff not have the authriy to arrest someone who is breaking the law?! If that person is in this country illegally, isn’t that breaking the law? If I were here illegally I would be looking over my shoulder hoping ot not get caught!! I guess I am just too naive–I dont understand why someone who is breaking the law can get away with it and it seems the government and citizens applaud them for it!! They get monefor college, health care food, ID’s. I just have no more words!!

  • Roxi

    Doesn’t “illegally” mean against the law? I’m sure she came here to make a “better life for her family”. I want a better life for my family, too. So, would it be okay if I robbed a bank?

  • Ostrogoth

    Each year the Border Patrol apprehends hundreds of thousands of aliens who flagrantly violate our nation’s laws by unlawfully crossing U.S. borders. Such illegal entry is a misdemeanor, and, if repeated after being deported, becomes punishable as a felony.

  • Codswallop Hogwash

    What a farce. She was here ILLEGALLY. SHE HAS NO BUSINESS, NO RIGHT TO STAY IN THE U.S. The arrest was absolutely correct, and and her kids should have been deported.
    Give her $30,000 of our money? HELL SHOULD FREEZE OVER.

  • Anonymous

    None of us even deserve to be on this planet. I hope god leaves us all behind, cuz were bound to mess up heaven just as bad as we did EARTH…

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